Advice on clock cables and pre-amp?

Hello all - I just took delivery of my new Rossini player and clock. Very exciting! I am using Transparent Ref MM2 balanced interconnects to run direct to my Constellation Inspiration Stereo 1.0 power amp which is driving Wilson Sasha DAWs. Two questions I hope the community can advise on: 1/ Right now I am just using the manufacturer supplied cables to connect the Rossini clock to the player, but I am sure I could do better - but not keen to spend silly money! Can anyone make some recommendations on what cables work well? 2/ I am not using a pre-amp but running the Rossini at 2V direct to my power amp. I’d rather not spend the extra cash on a pre-amp which may be redundant, but keen to get optimal sound quality. I would be very interested to hear what others have found. Many thanks.

Hello David

Congrats to your nice new dCS setup!

First off the clock cables can do a slight difference actually i have noticed by tested out about 20 different ones. You can go from a robotic harsh lifeless sound to more a more musically sound when changing the clock cables.
So i have tried out and i would recommend to start with is Apogee Wid Eye studio clock cables with gold Canare bnc connectors ,

The Nordost Valhalla 2 BNC does not up the sound as much and is note made for clock purpose because you will need rca - bnc adaptors for it, and you can not maintain 75 Ohms resistance in the cable and you will get glare and reflections in the Nordost. I know dCS is using Transparent XL and Nordost Odin / Valhalla in their own test setup, but i have made better results with cables that is made just for a squared wave form signal
( word.clock signal)

Another not so expensive but among the best is the Oyaide DR-510 BNC 75 clock cable or the Sotm dcbl 75 bnc
Estoteric make great word clock cables , and Silltec , MIT Oracle cables are also great choices.

About using the Rossini used as an preamp its good for the best transparency and non colourisation , but it does not play bit perfect on low volumes until you hit about 65-70 % of max vol. , so if you got som line in gain pots on your amp / amps try turn them down slightly so you can play at low level when the vol. is set to at least 65% and up on the Rossini.

I think my Rossini is playing very correct and transparent when i use it as an pre-amp, but i like the slight colourisation / warmth and air when i use a Simaudio Pre-Amp to it, so it is a matter of taste.

Some weeks i use the Rossini as a Pre amp and some i don’t.


Many thanks Fredrik - very helpful response. Anyone else have a view to share?

I am also using Apogee Wide Eyes to connectg clock and Rossini and I am very happy with them.

Another great Word.clock pro studio cable is
the German studio company Habst i am using in my setup, but these cables is more expensive than the Apogee, and the difference is only minimal.

Why not use digital cables that Abbey Road and the BBC use? Van Damme Plasma 75ohm with BNC connectors. In my experience significantly better then anything I have tried excepting one or two brands costing well in excess of £1K per meter.

It comes in various colours too which is very helpful in identifying which cable is which in a multi-box dCS installation.

Order custom made for you with your choice of colour, length, connector boot and even a label if you want,from around £11.50 per terminated metre.

I suppose I need to say that I have no relationship with either the cable company or supplier other than being a customer.

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Thanks Pete - at those prices it’s worth trying regardless! I’ll buy a short length to give me a datum for comparing other more costly cables over time. If it’s good enough for the Beeb I guess it’s good enough for me :slight_smile: Anyone else tried these cables to connect Rossini clock?

Van Damme used to have a webpage that not only identified their important clients but also the products supplied. I tried to find it today so I could add a link to it but no luck. Anyway if I remember correctly the Abbey Road page showed that they supplied something like 3km of cable. Now we know why studios don’t use Nordost Odin 2 at just over £10,000/metre :grin:

I am currently trialling a Townshend Allegri+ (passive pre-amp) between my Rossini and NAIM NAP300 DR power amp. The results are spectacular, and I definitely prefer this path rather than going direct from Rossini to NAP 300. Definitely worth a listen I’d say. I think you’ll be surprised. Think scale and ‘slam’ - all better, plus you don’t have the listening at low volumes ‘issue’ :smile:

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Interesting. Any idea why this passive pre-amp sounds different to a direct connection which in theory is a simpler signal path? Does this setup offer full balanced connectivity or only single ended?

Just wondering - was the comparison been done volume matched? I am asking because what you are describing sounds very much like “slightly louder”.

Hi, I found a glimpse of this list on this VDC video (02:44):

I ordered two of the cables you mentioned.


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Thanks. Impressive. They are a bit larger than your average audiophile boutique cable operation. And that client list!

As mentioned it is a matter of taste.

I have found the more exotic cables make a slight more velvet feel.

Another cheep cable like Van Damme is the more advanced

Canare 12G-SDI UHD 4K Single-Channel BNC 75 Ohm cable that can stream 4k video up to 100 meters without significant loss.'

But if you would like a step up to the exotic niche , then try Silltec Gold or Platinum series, Habst Digital BNC and MIT Oracle is my recommendation

Hello, my 2 cents when I tested Mutec stuff and now I use with my Vivaldi Clock : Pasternack PE33403. To me much better and less expensive for clock purpose than the Oyaide DR-510 I also own.

Take care.

Same as adm95, i also tried removing my naim 552 out the mix, got some cables made up and gave it ago.
The main problem is the digital volume control, fine if you leave it 0.0, but as soon as you start turning it down, so does the dynamics.
You can just about get away with it till -6.0 db, after that its down hill, but really once you know it effects the sound, you dont really want it in the mix at all and that means leaving it at 0.0.
I tried adjusting the output and trying to keep the volume at 0.0, but its no good and so just put my 552 back in.
Its a shame that the volume makes a difference, its not huge, but it does sound different.

Just to add, if i put the output to 0.2 v, the volume at 0.0 db, using my naim 500dr amp and pmc fact 12 speakers, the volume is just too high for normal listening.
Using above the digital volume would be at -7.0
At 0.6 v, the volume is at -17.0 to be about the same.
At 2.0 v the volume is at - 30 to be about the same.
At 6.0 v the volume is at - 37 to be about the same.

I can use it 0.2 v and get away with it most off the time i guess, but its a bit off a pain trying to keep the volume as close to 0.0 db as you can.

Anyway thats what i found, but i was using home made cables that i made up using silver quality cable that teddypardo uses ( as i used these and just put RCA’s on the end)
I would still like to try the balanced out direct to an amp, but as my 500 isn’t balanced i can’t, but i do wonder if that would bring a better result overall.
The other problem i have if i wanted to go this way, is that i have a turntable.


Duncan my experience with directly connecting power amps, dCS direct or with passive pre’s , has always resulted in my ultimately putting back the preamp . There is lots of comment about this in general on the various audiophile boards on the web and I would guess that the majority view is that you need a good active preamp to get a sense of drive and involvement. The opposite opinion is that using a pre-amp must add some form of colouration which I guess is logical although I would rather have that than spending my time listening to something that is intellectually satisfactory but not emotionally engaging. I don’t think that it is down to the volume control per se and as the DAC’s output impedance is exceptionally low and the maximum voltage sufficient I am lost for an explanation.

BTW I always remove my preamp around once a year just to check if any changes I have made to the system since the last time now make direct connection a viable option for me. I have gone as long as 48 hours before putting back the pre :grinning:

Coincidentally my first experience of trying direct connection was at the end of the last century with the grand daddy of your pre, the Naim 52, which I removed from its connection to the grand daddy of the Vivaldi, the Elgar. Another short spell discovering that in that configuration I only wanted to play small scale music e.g string quartets.

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Cheers Pete
I added a bit more info to my above statement, just incase anyone was interested.

Duncan, I ended up removing the 252/Scap altogether and keeping the Allegri + (for passive pre-amp duties). With this arrangement, you can set the Rossini at 0.0db, I have the Rossini set to 0.6v output, and use the Allegra’s volume. In addition, and as you also require, I connect my turntable phono stage to the Allegri+ - so get the best of digital and analogue replay. For me, this arrangement is a big improvement over keeping the 252…

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For me if i was to move away from my naim 552 it would be for a true balanced system, that means the 500 would have to go as well.
I would want two balanced inputs on the pre, balanced outputs to balanced inputs on the amp/ amps if i went mono’s. They would have to be true balanced as well.
Then i could also use the balanced outputs from my Rega Aura phono stage as well as the rossini, but right now very happy with the way it sounds, but this could be a move i make going forward as long as i can hear a benefit to doing this.

Cheers dunc